My Second Home

marcus-castro-310949.jpgNever in a million years would I’ve ever seen this place as my second home. It’s not glamourous. It’s not completely safe. It’s not warm. It’s not comfortable. Many people come to my second home-some do not leave. Meds and doctors are everywhere. Patients ranging from adults to the youngest of the youngest. Many talk amongst themselves while others face conversations alone. Never in a million years would I’ve ever seen Bellevue Hospital as my second home.
Growing up, Bellevue Hospital was known to house “crazy people” which are now categorized as mentally ill or challenged. I never knew you could go to Bellevue for other illnesses. The first time of realizing this for me was the first time my son threatened to take his life due to bullying. He was around ten or eleven at the time. I really didn’t want to bring him there but due to voicing his threat in a public setting, I had to do it.
Walking towards the ER, I expected to see many with “white jackets” rocking back and forth in heavy conversations with no one. But that wasn’t the case. Entering the ER, my son and I were surrounded by patients of various reasons for being there. I was told women gave birth there. Side eye was an understatement. His name is called. Vitals are taking. A label with his name, birth, chart number, and the date and time of arrival was placed on his wrist. The label also contained his picture. They took my baby picture.
We were directed to another part of the hospital called CPEP (Children Psychiatric Emergency). Walking through the halls was pure terror. We passed the Adult Psychiatric Emergency. Many looked zoned out in the beds wheeled to their places behind the big steel doors. Bland white walls. Bright white lights. Signs leading to the CPEP. I focus on my son as I hold his hand. You can tell he’s scared and confused.
We’re buzzed in. I’m told no phones, food, wires, bottles and any other potential harm are prohibited in this area. I see other children with their caregivers. Instantly I feel like crying. Some looks lost. Some are angry. Some are hurting. Information is giving to front desk. We’re asked to take a seat. After a few minutes, we’re greeted by a therapist and her team.
Questions are asked. Tears are shed. And then the suggestion is proposed along with a question I never seen coming.
“Mrs. Wright, we suggest he stays overnight. We want to give him some medication. Will that be alright?”
Wait…what? Leave my baby here for the night? Meds? What came out of my mouth shocked me.
“Do you feel he’s that severe to stay?”
“Not severe, but we want to observe him based on what he has said.”
Wow. I start to pray. I hear nothing. My heart pounds. All sort of things goes through my head. What if I take him home? Will he try to kill himself while I slept? Will he be safe here? I remember tearing. I was comforted and reassured he will be okay. So, I agree.
The walk to the rooms was a horror. Though a short distance from the waiting area to the locked and secure area, it felt as if it took forever to get to. Tears filled my eyes once again. Lump in my chest made it hard for me to breathe. As we enter the room, I tell him of the plan. He starts to cry. He undresses to put on a thin gown. The room is so cold. He’s given a blanket.
I kiss him continually. I reassure him of my return the next day. That didn’t console him-me neither. I held a continuance of strength for the both of us. My time was up. I had to leave. I peered in the window of the now shut door. He was curled on the hard cot with his blanket. My heart breaks as if he was gone from me forever. I wanted my baby. I wanted to hold him. But instead, I leave.
Going back towards the entrance of the hospital, I feel pain and hurt. My motherhood was questioned by my own questions within my head. How could I leave him? My eyes overloaded with tears, began to spill across my cheeks. I didn’t care. I didn’t like this situation at all. I began to pray, decree and declare that this will be his and I last time of being in the hospital. I will never see this place again.
Little did I know I would be back three more times for depression, threats on his life, and observation. No overnight stay for the last two times. A two week stay shook the very foundation of my heart. How could this be? What’s happening? I’m praying, fasting, believing God and all the opposite is happening. I’m seeing more of this place then my own home. I’m talking to doctors and therapist every day.
Plans on top of plans were made for us to practice at home in case of a “meltdown”. Safety plans, therapy sessions, and appointments filled the next months of my calendar. My second home became familiar. I started to see some of the nurses who took care of my son more often. The therapist became family-by intimate conversations about my son and myself.
Receptionist jokes with my son became the norm. No longer did I feel uncomfortable. No longer did I decree and declare our exit of Bellevue Hospital in the forever and good riddance aspect. I started to see through the eyes of God. There’s a cry for help in my second home. Most residents need an ear…some a shoulder. Some need a diagnose therefore leading to a plan of help and action towards healing or dealing.
In my second home, I’m asked if I’m okay. I’m given resources on top of resources for my son and I. My second home has included my family to be involved in the well-being of my son. Family therapy was fun yet eye opening. Everyone in my second home has been and is going beyond the call to get my son what he needs. For that I’m so grateful.
My second home is not as bad as I thought. My second home gives me inspirations. I feel the need to volunteer. I want to learn more on mental illness. I may become a therapist…who knows. You know you don’t go through something for no reason, right? To everything you go through, there’s a lesson to be learned. There’s an opportunity to be taken. There’s something to be seen.
My son is now attending the partial school program here. Now I’m connected to teachers as well as therapists. Whatever the outcome of this next phase may be, I’m strengthen to go through. My second home is equipping me. For that I’m grateful.
Never in a million years would I’ve ever seen this place as my second home. It’s not glamourous. It’s not completely safe. It’s not warm. It’s not comfortable. Many people come to my second home-some do not leave. Meds and doctors are everywhere. Patients ranging from adults to the youngest of the youngest. Many talk amongst themselves while others face conversations alone. Never in a million years would I’ve ever seen Bellevue Hospital as my second home.

 

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